Coping with anxiety

Everybody experiences anxiety sometimes. It is one of the many emotions that we feel as humans. However, things that are simply passing worries for some people are debilitating anxieties for others. If you have an anxiety disorder, or think you may have, how can you keep these negative feelings under control?

Recognising anxiety

The first step is recognising that you are experiencing anxiety, rather than feeling anxious, and seeking support. There are various forms of anxiety.

The most common one is Generalised Anxiety Disorder. People with GAD anticipate tragedy. Worries become relentless, and fears for the future can arise from little or no actual stimulus. For example, you may find yourself unable to sleep because you are worried about your job, when in fact your employment is secure.

There are other more specific anxieties. If you worry excessively about interacting with other people and experience severe discomfort during social situations, you may have Social Anxiety Disorder. It is estimated that one in every three people who lives through a traumatic event will experience some level of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. People who have regular panic attacks, a huge rush of physical and psychological symptoms, may be suffering from Panic Disorder. The term ‘OCD’ is incorrectly used to describe someone who is excessively fussy; however genuine Obsessive Compulsive Disorder sufferers have a debilitating condition which makes daily life difficult.

Coping mechanisms for anxiety

If you are diagnosed with anxiety, you are far from alone. The figures for a 2016 mental health survey reported by MIND show that 5.9% of the UK population experienced GAD, and 7.8% of people had mixed anxiety and depression.

There is a lot of support for anxiety disorders, and there are many things you can do to manage it. However, a 2014 YouGov survey showed that a fifth of people who have anxiety have no coping mechanisms to manage their anxious periods. Please don’t become one of those who struggle unnecessarily.

Everyday anxiety management

You may be treated for anxiety disorders with a combination of therapy and medication. However, there are also coping strategies you can use every day. I work with my clients on coping mechanisms, and I can’t stress enough the importance of developing strategies that work for you.

Learn to Control worry

When somebody tells you not to worry, it is easier said than done ! I can’t tell someone with anxiety not to worry, but what we can do is learn to control worry.

Self care

Take time for self care. Eating healthily is as important for the mind as the body. Avoid alcohol and caffeine if they increase your anxiety. Do nice things that make you feel good, listen to your favourite music, read a good book, have an invigorating shower, book a massage, spend an hour in the garden, take a walk in the fresh air, or as one of my clients said to me this week ‘I allow myself half an hour to have a peppermint tea in the conservatory’ – a great simple idea ! Activities don’t have to be complicated to be enjoyable. Plus, make sure you have plenty of rest…

Sleep

When we enter the REM phase of sleep, our minds churn over the day’s events and emotions, moving them from short term to longer term memory, and from the emotional side of the brain to the intellectual side. Unfortunately, anxiety sufferers often miss out on some of the essential REM phase of sleep.

However, you can carry out various rituals to help you sleep. Try a bath, a cosy drink (no caffeine or alcohol), and a good book. Avoid stimulating action movies, social media, and rich food. Make your bedroom as calming as you can: a good temperature, dim lights and comfortable bedding can all help create a relaxing haven.

Be open

Discussing your feelings with others can really help you manage your anxiety. If you would prefer to talk to people who share your experiences, ask your GP about local support groups, or look for (recognised) online communities.

Some people choose to volunteer for a charity or community group. As well as providing social interaction and distraction, helping others is a powerful way of realising the good in yourself, and seeing that you can make a positive difference.

Learn your triggers

Awareness of what triggers anxiety attacks can help you manage them. For example, it could be that alcohol increases your symptoms so you know you should cut down. If events in the news make you anxious, don’t read the headlines before bed.

Keep a diary. Note your mood and anxiety level in different situations, building up a picture of any patterns. It will also show you all the good that you are doing, journaling can be a really great morale booster.

Physical activity

Exercise provides so many benefits: stress relief, focus, better appetite, improved sleep, possible social circle, goals, enjoyment… Plus of course, improved physical health makes you feel much better mentally. You can start to introduce exercise gently with some walking, or perhaps there is an activity that you have always wanted to try. Whatever you choose, the endorphins released by exercise are sure to help.

Feeling confident in your physical health is really important, as many people with GAD spend sleepless nights worrying about imagined or exaggerated symptoms. As an aside Googling symptoms is not always helpful! If you need to check something out online, use a recognised medical website like NHS Choices.

Meditation

More people are realising the importance of meditation, hence the sudden rise of mindfulness apps. Meditation is the act of focussing the mind to create inner calm, clarity and concentration. You can learn simple relaxation techniques through meditation, which can help you through stressful moments. Learning how to relax through breathing (taught in meditation and yoga) is a valuable tool, after all, your breath is always with you, ready to help.

I’m Debbie Daltrey, the founder of Great Minds Clinic and an Anxiety UK Approved Therapist. My clinics are in Timperley, Altrincham, and Manchester City Centre. I am a solution focused hypnotherapist and Master NLP Practitioner, I can work with you to reduce and manage those anxieties that make daily life harder. Please contact me for a confidential chat.

 

6 ways to juggle your busy life without feeling overwhelmed

Sometimes, life is simply overwhelming. There is so much to do and think about, it’s hard to know where to start. We all feel the squeeze sometimes: there may be an extra-busy time at work, or a building project at home. When we feel up against it, even a simple trip to the supermarket seems like an epic task.

The run-up to the summer holidays is one of those overwhelming times. We may be trying to fit lots in before heading off on our hols; and many parents start to worry about how exactly they are going to keep all those juggling balls up in the air when the kids are home full-time.

I can’t reduce your task list but I can help you manage it. It is possible to be really active and still feel calm and in-control. Here are my tips, based on time-management methods and relaxation techniques, for happy juggling.

Diarise your time

During busy times, a diary is your new best friend. Whether you use something like Google Calendar or prefer the old-fashioned desk diary approach, keeping track of everything helps you lose that feeling of chaos or the fear of forgetting anything.

It also helps you be sensible about your capacity. Seeing everything written down is a great reality check, sometimes you glance at your calendar and realise that your schedule simply isn’t possible. Cross things out and reallocate them. You can’t begin to manage your activities if you don’t know what’s happening when.

Can you outsource?

We all understand what that means in the workplace: but it can be done in general life too! There are all sorts of people out there who can lend a hand, and you don’t need a massive budget to hire in help when you need it.

A virtual PA for just a couple of hours a week could tide you through busy times and this doesn’t just have to be for work, although if you are a self-employed parent, admin assistance could make all the difference when school’s out. Try an ironing service for busy periods or before a holiday, or find someone who can help you tame your garden so it’s lower maintenance (and a space to enjoy). If you have school holiday children to manage, arrange play date swaps with other parents, so each of you has some child-free time in turn (and you can relax knowing that your kids are having fun with friends). Look into local holiday clubs for older kids.

Handling the housework

A personal chef is a step too far for most of us, but there are always takeaways for those evenings when you can’t do it all! You can also have food ready in the freezer for busy weeks (and drop the guilt if you haven’t made any frozen batches of wholesome casserole. The freezer section of your local supermarket is fine!). Grocery delivery is an absolutely brilliant help.

We’ve discussed hiring in help, but realistically, the housework falls on the householders. But don’t forget that you might have potential helpers! Even little kids can help with simple tasks such as putting the dishes away (and older ones can always be bribed…).

Combine, don’t separate

In an ideal world, work and family would be in two nice, neat boxes! Sometimes, that’s simply not possible, and working from home can actually reduce time pressures. Sir Richard Branson claims to not divide work and play, and that involving his children with work has always brought a new perspective. Mothers trying to work to the background sounds of CBeebies may raise a tired eyebrow; however he has a point. If your partner, children or elderly relative is used to you working in the same space as them, it becomes business-as-usual.

Explain to the kids if you can complete x, y and z before deadline o’clock, you’ll have the afternoon at the park/cinema. Set up craft activities to keep younger kids engaged, and accept that there may have to be a bit more screen time occasionally. When you do go out, you can still keep an eye on work. Being able to access your emails 24/7 could be seen as a bad thing or as a way of preventing work from building up and getting out of control. Of course, your working hours may mean you need to arrange childcare for at least some of the summer. If this is the case, separating work and family life can be important to make sure you enjoy time together. Again, that diary helps!

Don’t forget yourself!

When people mention ‘me time’ during busy periods, the most likely response is hollow laughter! But really, a break from everything recharges your batteries and actually makes you more productive. Dog owners are often very good at this, as their pets make them go out a couple of times a day! Go for that run or swim, take a fun lunch break with friends or family, join that book club for a once a month get together, make sure you get a relaxing evening bath, and only burn the midnight oil in times of extremis.

If you have kids or dependent family, book a babysitter or smile nicely at a local relative, and go out with your partner or friends.

And relax…

What relaxes you? Is it that lovely bath I mentioned above, or half an hour with a book before bed? We all have a ritual that makes us feel relaxed and comforted, and that is so important when you’re feeling overwhelmed, and if you learn breathing and calming strategies, you can keep bringing them into play all day when things start to feel too much.

You can visit someone like me, and by using solution-focused hypnotherapy, I can work with you to develop coping strategies for dealing with your hectic lifestyle. There’s a fine line between busy-ness and stress, and hypnotherapy, along with these time management tips, helps you stay on the right side of the line.

I’m Debbie Daltrey, the founder of Great Minds Clinic. I have clinics in Timperley, Altrincham, and Manchester City Centre. Please call me for a confidential chat and I’ll help you keep all those juggling balls up in the air.

 

Keeping calm in a crazy world: managing external factors

How often have we heard the phrase “the world’s gone mad!” over the last few months? There seems to be uncertainty all over the globe at the moment – and now we’ve just had the news of a snap general election in Britain. As well as this, it feels like we’re bombarded with information all the time, through the media and social platforms. From celebrity babies to old school friends looking fantastic on Facebook, the world seems full of factors that increase our sense of general anxiety.

It feels like there is too much happening at once, and external factors are starting to fill up our ‘stress buckets’! However, you can still focus on your emotional health while there are external social and political factors at work.

In other words, how do we learn to keep calm in a crazy world?

Manage your social media

The constant scrolling, the information, the opinions, the comments, the sheer exhausting bombardment of social media… Smart phones are fantastically useful devices, but they’ve made it far too easy for us to live our lives on social media. We compare ourselves to others far too much (even though we probably suspect that their social media portrayals aren’t exactly accurate, this doesn’t prevent us from feeling inadequate because of them).

Switch off your WiFi at night so you’re not tempted to carry on scrolling at bedtime. Don’t friend or follow people or organisations that offend you or make you feel uncomfortable – and remember that you don’t actually have to have a social media account. We all lived perfectly well without social media “back in the day”!

Avoid alarmist news sources

We’ve all heard a lot about “fake news” recently, and there are certainly a lot of scary-sounding headlines around. Stick to reputable news sources that give facts, such as the BBC – but don’t have News 24 on a loop. You can always replace fakes with facts: if a headline grabs your attention but doesn’t quite feel right, check it out on a website such as FullFact (UK) or FactCheck.org (US). Knowledge can be deeply reassuring, and can help you manage worries caused by fear-mongering and alarmist headlines.

Do something completely different

Switch off the smartphone, put down the paper, and opt for some good old-fashioned fresh air and exercise! Take time to escape from the constant media bombardment, and as psychologist Dr Alan J Lipman beautifully puts it, “explore and interact with the unmediated world that you live in”. Spend time with real people you care about, not just social media profiles and talking heads on television. Take time to breathe, be mindful, enjoy the good things in the world rather than focusing on the turmoil.

Learn to manage your anxieties

You can’t change the world single-handedly – but you can manage how it affects you and how you deal with it. Many of my clients come to me because they feel that their anxiety or stress is taking over – and solution focused hypnotherapy is so effective at relieving these feelings. We work together to focus on solutions, rather than dwelling on problems, reducing your anxiety while calming your mind.

Learning mindfulness techniques is extremely beneficial (and this works so well hand-in-hand with solution focused hypnotherapy). This really helps with all that negative future forecasting which is such a symptom of stress.

Think about exceptions

Something that we focus on in my sessions is the concept of “exceptions”. By this, I mean occasions when everything is going well and you don’t feel personally unsettled. For example, a client may say “I never seem to feel anxious at work”, and that gives us an exception to the unsettled feelings. We may explore coping skills from this exception which can be used in other situations. If you feel that external factors are getting too much for you, identifying your own coping mechanisms can be of huge benefit.

Let me help

I’m Debbie Daltrey, the founder of Great Minds Clinic and an Anxiety UK Approved Therapist. My clinics are in Timperley, Altrincham, and Manchester City Centre. If the world seems like it’s spinning too fast at the moment, please call me for a confidential chat – and together we can help you control anxiety and stress.

How hypnotherapy can help you lose weight

The spring is here, the sun is out, and that extra warmth and light is a wonderful, positive thing. However, for quite a few of us, the coming of summer also heralds that time when we have to fit into last year’s holiday wardrobe … If you’re not happy with your weight, this can be a daunting thought.

As a result, those of us who lack confidence in our appearance turn to dieting in an attempt to feel better on the beach. However, when it comes to successful weight loss – and by successful, I mean sustained – you need to literally change your mind about food.

What’s going on in your head is as important as what’s going onto your plate.

Losing weight is about gaining confidence

What I work towards with my weight loss clients is confidence in body and mind, empowering you to make the changes you want to make, helping you maintain motivation, and a strong positive attitude.

It’s about being healthy and feeling happy with yourself in all areas of your life.

Successful weight loss needs more than a diet

Most of us have tried a diet at some point; and many of us have had a go at several. Usually, we’ll find one that works for us, start to lose some weight, and be really pleased with how well it’s going. You may also be combining your new diet with exercise, and feeling much better. Then – those lost pounds start to sneak back on again…

Why does this happen? After all, we have a straightforward goal and a clear-cut way of reaching it with diet and exercise. The problem that most of us encounter is that we’re tackling the physical aspect of weight loss – but not looking at the psychological side as well.

Any diet is going to be of temporary benefit if you don’t readjust your relationship with food. Weight-gaining eating patterns could be a symptom of another issue: this is often the case with comfort eating. Changing unhealthy eating habits once and for all, can have a lasting effect on your weight, and prevents a lifetime spent “yo-yo dieting”.

Why do people comfort eat?

Comfort eating is extremely common. The association between food and comfort starts in babyhood, and at times of stress or anxiety, we can find ourselves reaching out for a reassuring biscuit, or the whole packet of course!  Eating becomes a coping strategy for times when we’re feeling low: we attempt to boost serotonin to make us feel happier with food, which can make it a hard habit to break unless you also address the trigger.

There can be other factors: boredom leading to mindless picking at food, and issues with self-control. To tackle any of these unhelpful eating habits, we first need to understand what role the food is playing in your life, and how we can replace this need with healthier thoughts and habits. This is where solution focused hypnotherapy comes in.

How solution focused hypnotherapy can help with weight loss

Hypnotherapy combined with psychotherapy helps you reframe your relationship with food. . Having clear goals to envision your ideal outcome is an essential part of successful weight loss; and solution focused hypnotherapy can help you to achieve those wonderful goals.

Of course, reprogramming your relationship with food can’t completely replace a sensible diet! We combine the hypnotherapy aspect with a suggested healthy eating programme, and seven tailored one-to-one sessions.

Have a look at Great Minds’ weight loss programme and I’d also recommend you read the fantastic blog post about Wispa Gold cravings that a client wrote for me!

If you feel this could help you too, please contact me to book your free initial consultation. Together, we can get you started toward a better way of living – giving you plenty of time before summer, to get back in control, and on your way toward achieving those fabulous goals of a happier, healthier you.

I’m Debbie Daltrey, the founder of Great Minds Clinic. My clinics are in Timperley, Altrincham, and Manchester City Centre. If you’re feeling concerned about weight loss, or simply want to find a healthy and positive way of life, please call me for a confidential chat.

 

 

 

 

Fear of flying: how hypnotherapy can help your holiday

It’s the time of year when many of us plan our summer holidays. However, for some travellers, the fear of flying outweighs the pleasure and excitement of booking a holiday abroad.

With over 70m passengers  passing through Heathrow alone in 2015, many of us choose flight as our preferred transport method. But surprisingly, it’s thought that at least one in ten of us  have a fear of flying.

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We all experience that adrenalin-raising moment when the taxiing aeroplane picks up speed. This soon passes, and most passengers relax and enjoy the flight. However, for those who experience a fear of flying, the adrenalin levels remain at an unpleasantly high level.

A phobia of air travel can become a debilitating anxiety that prevents us from enjoying holidays abroad, visiting far-flung family, or making overseas business trips. An aviophobe may be completely fearless in other aspects of their lives, with sporty hobbies and careers that are high-flying – in every other way. Happily, a fear of flying can be managed using hypnotherapy techniques.

Why are we afraid to fly?

There isn’t one easy answer to this. Some people can’t get beyond the idea that flying simply isn’t natural. Their fears come from tangible factors such as turbulence, or news reports about air disasters. Perhaps they’ve needed to change planes or been delayed on the runway due to a fault. If someone is prone to anxious feelings, events like these can easily add up to a mortal fear that feels all-too-rational. However, reading statistics about the relative safety of air travel doesn’t help resolve these fears…

It can be due to a fear of loss of control, similar to other anxiety disorders. This could be feelings of claustrophobia due to the confined space or fear of a panic attack. Someone who is acrophobic (has a fear of heights) clearly will find the thought of flying extremely unpleasant. It could be fear of feeling nauseous due to motion or even the smell of airline food. Some people find the idea of aeroplane toilets extremely worrying, especially on long-haul flights. The lack of privacy on a plane, the fear of germs, a worry about ears popping, the sheer logistics of passport control and baggage retrieval – those prone to overthinking can find all sorts of anxieties about flying which combine and build up into a real phobia.

It’s also possible for people who’ve always been happy flyers to suddenly develop a fear of air travel. This could be because something in their lives, not necessarily related to flying, resulted in a panic attack on the plane. Therefore, an association starts to develop, and the plane becomes identified as a place where panic attacks happen.

How can solution focused hypnotherapy help manage a fear of flying?

A fear or phobia develops when your primitive mind thinks you’re in danger. It doesn’t matter that the intellectual side of the brain knows that the pilot is highly trained and that the plane has passed all sorts of stringent safety checks – the primitive part of our brain, the amygdala, tells us that we’re not safe in the air, and that’s it. It releases stress hormones, triggering our fight or (forgive the expression) flight response.

As we looked at above, there are various phobias associated with air travel; and reprogramming our primitive brain is the key to managing these fears. We can do this using solution focused hypnotherapy.

Hypnosis is simply a contrived trance state which brings the primitive and rational sides of the brain together, allowing them to work together. This allows you to replace irrational anxieties with positive calming thoughts. When you change how your subconscious mind perceives flying, it helps to control those limiting stress hormones.

Let me help you take flight…

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We all need a holiday sometimes! Don’t let a fear of flying come between you and that tropical beach or exciting city break. A fear of flying can be limiting if you need to fly with your job; but it can be helped using solution focused hypnotherapy.

I’m Debbie Daltrey, the founder of Great Minds Clinic and an Anxiety UK Approved Therapist. My clinics are in Timperley, Altrincham, and Manchester City Centre. Please call me for a confidential chat – and don’t let a fear of flying ground you this summer.

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Empty the stress bucket: how hypnotherapy helps with anxiety

There’s a big difference between feeling anxious and having an anxiety disorder. Everybody feels anxious occasionally: it’s a perfectly normal emotion. Exams, interviews, new work challenges are examples of things that make us all anxious. However, for someone with an anxiety disorder, regular everyday life feels overwhelming.

If you think you have an anxiety disorder, you’re not alone. The Mental Health Foundation reports that in 2013, there were 8.2 million cases of anxiety in the UK. It’s reassuring to know that you’re not unusual and that there are tried-and-tested means to help you manage anxiety.

One of the ways that solution focused hypnotherapy can help you is by emptying out your “stress bucket”.

What is a stress bucket?

The stress bucket is a helpful analogy that describes the effects of anxiety. Imagine you have a bucket, and every time something causes you to feel anxious or stressed, a beaker of water is poured in. Tiredness, family issues, work problems, money worries…all the negative thoughts, over-thinking, and fearing the worst will happen… in they all go. And of course, as the stressors build up, the bucket starts to get very full.

We’re all individuals, so we all have our own different buckets. Your stress bucket can take days, months or years to fill up, and it can easily overflow…!

What happens as our stress buckets begin to fill?

To understand more about the stress bucket, let’s put it down for just a moment and look at our brains.

In some ways, we are closer to our primitive ancestors than we think. Our minds have an intellectual, rational evolved part, and the primitive original part. The latter is what we can refer to as the “emotional, primitive’ part of our brain which we share with our ancestors, and this controls our fight-or-flight response. This developed to keep us alert to potential dangers and when our flight or fight response has become too sensitised, we can feel as if we are on hyper-vigilant mode, where we are expecting something to go wrong at any moment and fearing the worst. The primitive/emotional mind is the source of anxiety, anger and depression. If the rational side is temporarily unable to take over and make sense of any fears or worries we have, anxiety builds – and our stress bucket builds up.

A filled bucket needs to be emptied. Good sleep can be very helpful for this. At night, when we enter the REM (rapid eye movement) phase of sleep, our brain is attempting to use up any unspent adrenalin in the body by completing events, emotions and suppressed emotions in our dreams. In this way events get filed away as a narrative which we then have more control over. This overnight process helps to empty the stress bucket.

However, REM sleep is only limited to about 20% of our sleep. If the brain tries to overdo this, we are woken up in the middle of the night, this can explain why some people have disturbed sleep patterns. Therefore, when we have a full stress bucket, the brain isn’t able to empty it with REM sleep alone. Sleep difficulties are a common anxiety symptom.

But – buckets can always be emptied! Just because it’s not emptying automatically at the moment, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be done…

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How can I empty my stress bucket?

We’ve talked about REM sleep as an essential bucket emptying tool – nature’s siphon, if you like. However, if you have anxiety, it’s likely that sleep doesn’t come as easily to you as it could. It’s always worth trying some simple sleep routines that help improve your sleeping habits.

Unwind before you try to sleep: no social media, work, or frenetic films. The old fashioned remedies of a relaxing bath, a warm drink, and a good book can all help you feel calm before bedtime. Caffeine, alcohol and rich food late at night prevent deep sleep, so avoid all these (and smokers find it harder to fall asleep than non-smokers). Make sure your bedroom is a sleepy haven: no kids, no pets, no bright lights, no telly, and kept at a comfortable temperature.

Make time for you, and doing the things you love to do. Sometimes we get so busy with our hectic lives these pastimes take a back seat, but self-care is important. Sometimes, it can be helpful to peer into your stress bucket to find coping strategies. Can you identify the stress factors and come up with some solutions?

Solution focused hypnotherapy can help empty the stress bucket

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy reduces the levels in the stress bucket through mixed methods, we combine hypnosis with psychotherapy to produce a less anxious mindset. Solution focused hypnotherapy concentrates on the future, helping you to come up with creative solutions to help yourself. Hypnosis creates a contrived trance state, in this state, we can start to replace those anxious feelings with positive thoughts.

I’m Debbie Daltrey, the founder of Great Minds Clinic and an Anxiety UK Approved Therapist . My clinics are in Timperley, Altrincham, and Manchester City Centre. If you need some help to empty your stress bucket, please call me for a confidential chat.

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Calm, Confident & In-Control…

When clients first come to see me, and I ask them what are their best hopes to achieve from this therapy, they often say that they want to feel ‘calm, confident, and in-control’, and these are fabulous goals to strive for.

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These three qualities enable us to really embrace life – if you are not feeling calm, confident and in-control, you may be feeling anxious, stressed, and overwhelmed – and solution focused hypnotherapy can help you overcome these negative feelings.

Anxiety and panic can be replaced with feelings of calm, confidence, and of being in control. As well as being essential for our mental wellbeing, these three qualities enable us to really make the most of our relationships, careers, and leisure time. In short, to make the most of life.

Feeling calm helps your family and everyday life

Feeling anxious and panicky can be really debilitating. Being anxious developed as a primitive self-preservation instinct – but for the modern brain, an inability to switch off this function is exhausting and can prevent us from leading a normal life.

Replacing anxiety with feelings of calm has so many benefits. On a basic level, life is much easier when we feel calm! Family life, relationships, and everyday activities stop feeling like stressors and become things to enjoy again. Life may be busy – but when you feel calm inside, life isn’t stressful, it’s simply full.

Confidence is so important at work

There’s a difference between seeming confident and genuinely feeling confident. We’re all familiar with the analogy of the swan – graceful on the surface, but paddling like heck under the water! That’s how many of us feel at work at least some of the time, and the pressure to put on the calm exterior while panicking beneath the surface can be gruelling.

True confidence, as opposed to wearing a confident mask, is a great gift in the workplace. It also helps in all other areas of life – sports, hobbies, dating, dieting, studying, job-hunting…

Being in control lets you do so much more

Feeling out of control is a state that sneaks up on many people sometimes. It could also be described as feeling overwhelmed. It can simply be because we’re trying to do too much, and are spending our lives fire-fighting – working parents of small children often feel this, for example. A feeling of life being out of control happens with those who experience overeating or addictions. Or, feeling like a loss of control, can be a symptom of depression or anxiety or due to situational life events occurring. Whatever the cause, there are a range of techniques that can help you take back control.

When we regain clarity of thought, all those tasks which felt so overwhelming fall back into place and become achievable. When you can see clearly, you’re so much more productive than when looking at the world through a haze of chaos. As well as managing the multi-tasking of everyday life, a sense of control enables you to take up that new hobby, or study a new subject, or simply take time out to relax and breathe…

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How can solution focused hypnotherapy help you to feel calm, confident, and in control?

Solution focused hypnotherapy was developed to calm the mind and reduce anxiety – so is the perfect approach to help with the issues we discussed above. Solution focused hypnotherapy works by concentrating on a positive future; and although it acknowledges the past and the current issues, it doesn’t dwell on these. The purpose is to think about how you want your life to be, and what positive steps you can take to get there.

Becoming calmer and regaining the feeling of being in control of your life is a surprisingly easy goal to achieve. You may feel swamped at the moment, but that’s OK – most of us experience periods of feeling overwhelmed by life, or losing confidence in ourselves. Simply by reading this, and contemplating hypnotherapy, you’ve started on the path towards taking back control!

I’m Debbie Daltrey, the founder of Great Minds Clinic. Over the years, I’ve seen solution focused hypnotherapy help so many people regain feelings of control and confidence, and start to enjoy life again. If the feelings I’ve outlined here sound familiar, please contact me for a confidential chat. I can be found at www.greatmindsclinic.co.uk with clinics in Altrincham and Deansgate in Manchester.

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What is overthinking – and what can we do about it?

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Everybody worries from time to time – so when does worrying become overthinking?

Overthinking is simply what its name suggests – thinking too much. Overthinking is going over the same thought again and again, analysing the simplest of situations or events until all sense of proportion has gone. The overthinking brain cannot translate these thoughts into actions or positive outcomes, so therefore creates feelings of stress and anxiety.

The phrase “overthinking” is often used quite flippantly these days. (You can picture the social media posts: “I’m overthinking my holiday packing. Lol.”) But for the genuine overthinker, there is nothing shallow or light-hearted about their thoughts. What distinguishes overthinking from merely thinking?

Am I over-thinking?

Surely we all overthink to some extent? As parents, sons or daughters, employees or business people, worrying about things is linked to caring about our loved ones, and about doing a good job.

However, people who really struggle with overthinking tend to be “ruminators”, going over events that have already happened. Plain old worrying tends to be about the future: can I meet this deadline? Can I find a nice residential flat for my mum? Often, our worries help us move forwards as we are working out how to mitigate them; however overthinking tends to be passive rather than active, dwelling on past events and building up disproportionately negative future results.

Take this scenario. You accidentally call your new boss by the wrong name. What do you think and feel when you realise this later?

The average worrier will feel mildly embarrassed, plan to apologise with some self-deprecating comment the next day, then forget about it and make dinner. The overthinker will replay this error over and over, while rewriting different outcomes. By four in the morning, he or she will be mentally creating scenarios of being passed over for future promotions, or even chosen for redundancy. The incident has triggered big questions in the overthinking mind, which blow the whole event way out of proportion.

This may seem like a trivial example; however it’s a good illustration of how over-thinking can take over many facets of your life. Dwelling on a past event and making catastrophic predictions from it are classic examples of what an overthinking mind can do.

Overthinking comes from your primitive emotional part of your brain

Like many traits of anxiety and depression, overthinking actually comes from one of our primitive preservation instincts.

The primitive mind will always see things from the worst possible perspective. This is because the brain is being hyper-vigilant, trying to keep us alive – there’s no sense in being optimistic about those sabre-toothed tigers I’ve mentioned before!

The intellectual brain will tell us that no way will we lose our job because we called our boss by the wrong name. However, people prone to rumination are responding in that primitive fight-or-flight mode, where focusing on worst-case scenarios is more likely to keep us alive. Overthinking and anxiety work together, exacerbating the feelings of stress and helplessness.

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Overthinking fills the stress bucket

It’s easy to create anxiety through negative future forecasting. However, dwelling on the past can also make us feel extremely anxious. Negative thoughts fill our “stress bucket” to the point where we feel that one more drip, one more thought, will make us overflow.

How can we empty our stress bucket? At night, we enter the amazing healing process of REM sleep, where our brains go over the day’s events, moving them from the emotional, primitive brain to the intellectual side. The brain files events away, together with the emotion, and suppressed emotion, and turns them into memories and narratives for another day. The brain may also ‘live out’ unspent emotion via our dreams in order to use up unspent adrenalin as part of this process. The person who called their boss by the wrong name won’t have forgotten the incident over night, but won’t really be thinking about it by the morning.

The overthinking person will not be so fortunate. If he or she is not sleeping well, due to overthinking, tossing and turning whilst ruminating over the events, then they miss out on this vital REM sleep, perhaps waking up during the night, or not able to get to sleep until the early hours by which time it’s time to get up and start the day with low energy and low mood.

How solution focused hypnotherapy can prevent overthinking

Everyone overthinks sometimes. The problems arise for people who find it very difficult to stop the thoughts. Whereas the occasional over-thinker can intellectualise the initial worry, the real ruminator is subject to a constant barrage of negative thoughts. Naturally, it’s all too easy for a vicious circle to develop, as increased anxiety leads to further overthinking, and so on.

So what we need to do is break this cycle. Solution focused hypnotherapy, with its focus on the present and the future, is a logical way of tackling overthinking. By creating a contrived trance state, we achieve a state where both sides of the brain come together – and this is when we can start to replace all these negative thoughts with positive thoughts for the future.

We talk about solutions and ways forward, helping you to set achievable goals, and to recognise those times when you are coping well and to build upon those strengths and resources.

Hypnosis itself reduces anxiety through relaxation and visualisation, allowing people to focus on the positive aspects of their lives, resulting in shift towards an optimistic – and indeed, realistic – perspective.

That new boss you accidentally called by then wrong name? It’s opened up a great chance for an informal chat, and that’s always good, right?

Let’s start thinking about overthinking – together

You’re not alone. Overthinking is something many people experience, and I can work with you to overcome it.

The cycle of overthinking and anxiety can easily be broken using solution focused hypnotherapy. This is a natural, calming, and safe way to begin to manage your thoughts again.

I’m Debbie Daltrey, the founder of Great Minds Clinic. I have clinics in Timperley, Altrincham, and Manchester City Centre. To find out more about how I can help you, please contact me for a confidential chat. Contact details can be found at www.greatmindsclinic.co.uk.

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Six Signs That You May Be Mildly or Moderately Depressed

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Are you depressed? How do we know the difference between an ‘off’ day or days, or if it’s something more?

Well, everyone feels low sometimes. We’d be pretty strange if we didn’t respond emotionally to life’s situations. However, if your low feelings simply won’t go away, and you start to notice other changes in your behaviour, patterns or emotions, it could be that you are experiencing mild to moderate depression. And if you are, don’t worry, it can be helped in a natural way to help you to cope and then to start to feel better.

Depression is divided into three levels – mild, moderate, and severe. The levels are measured by the impact that the depression has on daily life: some impact, significant impact, or in severe cases, the impact is so great that everyday life has become practically impossible. The signs I’m talking about here are potential indicators of the first two levels.

I want to make it clear at the start that even though these changes may be unusual for you, they’re not unusual in themselves. If you recognise any of the signs as changes you are experiencing yourself, or you’ve spotted them in a friend or family member, please remember that with help, you can overcome all these.

The list is not exhaustive; however here are some of the main signs to look out for.

1. You’re Not As Interested In Things You Used To Enjoy

Cast your mind back to that feeling as a child, when you really couldn’t be bothered going to swimming lessons, or brownies, or scouts, or whatever it was. When you got there, you always remembered that actually, it was fun, and you simply hadn’t wanted to go because you felt a bit tired.

Imagine feeling like that as an adult, a lot of the time, about a lot of things. Except that now, you don’t bother going. Things that you usually enjoy just feel like too much effort. At times when you can’t even raise the enthusiasm to watch a TV programme, hobbies such as sports are way too much. The really unfair thing about this symptom is that hobbies are really beneficial for mental health, giving a sense of achievement, lots of endorphins, and the social aspect of like-minded company.

Losing interest in things you used to enjoy can also include sex, food, socialising, and looking after yourself (painting your nails, shaving, pampering). Lacking in energy is a common sign of depression, and this is one of the ways it clearly manifests itself.

2. You’re Isolating Yourself More Than Usual

We all have days when we really don’t feel like being the life and soul of the party, or we feel like we can’t be bothered going out – but when those days stretch into weeks, or even months, and we’re still making excuses not to see people, it could be that it’s deliberate isolation.

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Why do people choose to separate themselves from their friends and family at a time when their support could be invaluable? There are various reasons. Being happy feels fake – and it’s exhausting to keep up a show, especially if you’re already feeling fatigued. Your patience is perhaps thinner than usual so you may find the idea of sociable chat highly irritating, or, it may be too anxiety provoking so you don’t bother and prefer to isolate yourself instead.

However, we always feel better when we make that effort to socialise, because we are hard wired as part of our evolution to feel safer when we ‘belong’ to something bigger than ourselves, e.g our ‘tribe’ in evolutionary terms. This is why we feel better when we make the effort to practice interacting and engaging with others.

3. You’re Feeling Anxious, Scared, Or Worried Frequently

Depression and anxiety are different things. However, people with depression often have similar symptoms to those with anxiety disorders. You’re fearing that the worst will happen, or thinking negatively about the future which naturally creates anxiety and worry. It’s so hard, carrying these feelings around with you all the time. Constantly imagining the worst-case-scenario is exhausting, and leaves you unable to relax and switch off.

Remember to always practice self-compassion; be kind and encouraging to yourself like you would be to a friend. Talk to people you trust; or talk to a professional counsellor or psychotherapist. It’s true that a problem shared, (or feelings and worries shared), really helps put things into perspective.

4. Negative Thinking And Self-Criticism

When we feel in a low mood it stems from our thoughts and we can be our own worst critic. I hear healthy, clever, successful people describe themselves as failures – and they have this negative belief because they really can’t see the truth whilst they are in this negative state. They sometimes think that everybody else is having a wonderful life, and compare themselves negatively. They are seeing a distorted view of the truth.

The good news is that the brain can be ‘re-wired’ to think more positively, and negative thinking doesn’t need to be the only way.

5. Your Sleep Patterns Have Changed

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It could be that you’re not sleeping well, not able to get to sleep easily,  waking up frequently in the middle of the night, or waking up too early in the morning. Another change in sleeping patterns is wanting to sleep more – partly due to avoidance, partly because you simply feel so exhausted. The first sign that something is really bothering you is when your sleep patterns are different.

6. You’re Turning To Food Or Drink For Comfort

Comfort eating is an understandable response – after all, food releases endorphins because we need to eat to survive. However, with comfort eating we usually reach for the unhealthier choices of food, and in larger volumes than dictated by hunger. This of course leads to weight gain, which can make us feel worse, and a whole vicious circle begins. Alcohol, likewise – it’s all too easy for the glass of wine to turn into the empty bottle of wine as you try to self-medicate or escape these feelings… and as with food, you end up in a far worse situation, except this is far more dangerous for your health and wellbeing longer term.

Conversely, you may have lost your appetite, and no longer enjoy food you used to. Again, this could be an indication that everything isn’t as it should be.

I work with clients who have one or more of these symptoms of depression – and the good news is that solution-focused hypnotherapy can help as a natural way to start to cope with these feelings, and to start to feel better.

If you are interested in managing your feelings of mild to moderate depression, or anxiety with a combination of psychotherapy, NLP, hypnotherapy and EFT then please contact me for a friendly, confidential chat and further details.

Hypnotherapy is a safe, calming, relaxing experience. I will work with you to help you move forwards into the positive future that you deserve, and to start enjoying life again.

I’m Debbie Daltrey, founder of Great Minds Clinic. I work from clinics at home in Timperley, Altrincham and from offices at the Milton Rooms, Deansgate in Manchester City Centre.

http://www.greatmindsclinic.co.uk

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A client’s story of how we ended his Wispa Gold cravings….

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As I was working with my client, I discovered that he used to be a journalist. At the end of one of our sessions, I mentioned in passing my new blog and the challenges of writing content.

He kindly offered to write a one-off guest blog for me, and subsequently wrote this very candid and honest description about his recent experience of working with me to reduce his anxiety, and also his chocolate cravings.

Here is his story in his own words…

“The first thing you need to know about me is that I’m a professional cynic. Literally. My job is to listen to software developers tell me that their programs work and then prove them wrong. I get paid to not believe people. It suits my nature: my cynicism isn’t limited to my job. There are lots of things I’m cynical about, including medicine. Basically, if it isn’t licensed by Pfizer, it isn’t going to work.

I mention this because I want you to get a feel for just how astounded I was by the success of my recent treatment with Debbie Daltrey at Great Minds Clinic. Not everything came as a surprise. I have a degree in psychology, and although that was a very long time ago, I remember enough to know that hypnotism is a genuine phenomenon and that hypnotherapy can have very real results.

That said, when Debbie suggested we use a couple of our treatment sessions for EFT to help me with anxiety regards an upcoming holiday, and weight loss, I’d not heard of EFT, so naturally, my suspicion gland kicked into top gear.

EFT, I should explain, is a treatment based on acupuncture pressure points although, happily, it doesn’t involve having any needles put in you. You simply tap, with your fingers, certain areas of the body (mainly around the face) whilst repeating out loud what Debbie says (which will depend on the exact problem she’s helping you with). There’s no getting away from the fact that you may feel faintly ridiculous while doing this.

Now, if your instinctual reaction to this is ‘Yeah, right, how can tapping make a difference’ then I wouldn’t blame you for a second. That was pretty much my reaction as well. But then I thought, you know what? Debbie’s the expert here. I’ll give it a go.

And here’s the thing. The first session we did was for anxiety, and it had an immediate, tangible and significant effect. I’ve picked those words with a great deal of care, so much so that I’m going to repeat them. By the time we finished the first session, my anxiety levels had reduced immediately, tangibly and significantly.

The second treatment I had was to help me with weight loss, and here’s where I tell you the second thing you need to know about me, which is that I would cheerfully crawl a mile on my hands and knees over broken glass for a Wispa Gold. I’m just going to come out and say it: I love Wispa Golds. Debbie asked me to bring one to the session, and in a triumph of self will, I actually did bring her a Wispa Gold, as opposed to just a Wispa Gold wrapper and a guilty grin. Debbie had me open the wrapper and place the Wispa Gold down next to me without – and I can’t stress this enough – without actually stuffing it in my face. We went through the EFT treatment, once again tapping, repeating and feeling faintly ridiculous.

Now, I have to confess to a fairly strong hope when we started that the treatment would somehow involve me eating the Wispa Gold. I recognised even at the time that this might have been clutching at straws somewhat, but a man can dream, right? Maybe there’d be some aversion therapy going on, like locking a claustrophobic arachnophobe in a lift full of tarantulas. I pictured Debbie leaving the room, returning with a shopping basket full of Wispa Golds and proclaiming: “Here, now you’re going to eat every last one of these until you’re sick!”

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No such luck. We just tapped and repeated and felt faintly ridiculous. And yet, by the end of it, I didn’t want the chocolate. The craving for it had simply disappeared. In the space of a few minutes. Debbie warned me that if I was going to truly kick the habit it would take will power as well, but not only have I not had a Wispa Gold in the subsequent three weeks, I haven’t had any chocolate. Or crisps. Or even thought about them.

I should stress that I’m not trying to sell you a miracle cure here. (I should also stress that I’m not trying to sell you anything – I’m just telling my story). I’ve still further to go with my weight-loss goals, and I still suffer with anxiety from time to time. But crucially, both of these problems have been reduced by EFT treatment with Debbie Daltrey in a very short time. I don’t doubt for a second that I’ll be back for further treatment if I need it to reach my ideal weight and get support to manage life’s ups and downs.”

If you are interested in managing your anxiety, and managing your weight with a combination of psychotherapy, NLP, hypnotherapy and EFT then please contact me for a friendly, confidential chat and further details.

I work from clinics at home in Timperley, Altrincham and from offices at the Milton Rooms, Deansgate in Manchester City Centre.

http://www.greatmindsclinic.co.uk

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